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  • Originally posted by Graham View Post
    I have to confess that SH's claim regarding what JH is reported to have said in court about the traffic island is new to me. Can this please be checked by someone with access to the trial proceedings?

    Indeed, what did happen to the picture house? I have an admittedly imperfect memory of someone on the pre-crash Forum doing some digging on the spot in Liverpool, and who discovered that there never was a picture-house opposite Cowley's shop. Which does not mean to say that there were no picture-houses at all on Scotland Rd., and that another of the 29 sweet-shops could well have been situated opposite one.
    Hanratty made a statement on 30-12-1961 wherein he stated that the sweetshop "was a corner shop by traffic lights and gent's toilets and ladie's toilets" [see post # 4946].
    As previously mentioned there were 2 cinemas on either side of Scotland Road a few hundred yards before Hanratty reached the sweet shop that Tuesday afternoon. After alighting from the bus my guess is that Hanratty used the zebra crossing, [on the right hand side of the attached photo] finding himself on that triangular shaped traffic island.
    The gent's and ladie's toilets which he mentioned are underlined in red in the photo. Also, as indicated in the photo by a green arrow, there was the site of the famous Rotunda Theatre a very short distance away. I don't know what stood on the site back in August 1961 as the theatre was bombed in the May blitz of 1941.
    Attached Files
    *************************************
    "A body of men, HOLDING THEMSELVES ACCOUNTABLE TO NOBODY, ought not to be trusted by anybody." --Thomas Paine ["Rights of Man"]

    "Justice is an ideal which transcends the expedience of the State, or the sensitivities of Government officials, or private individuals. IT HAS TO BE PURSUED WHATEVER THE COST IN PEACE OF MIND TO THOSE CONCERNED." --'Justice of the Peace' [July 12th 1975]

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Sherlock Houses View Post
      Hanratty made a statement on 30-12-1961 wherein he stated that the sweetshop "was a corner shop by traffic lights and gent's toilets and ladie's toilets" [see post # 4946].
      As previously mentioned there were 2 cinemas on either side of Scotland Road a few hundred yards before Hanratty reached the sweet shop that Tuesday afternoon. After alighting from the bus my guess is that Hanratty used the zebra crossing, [on the right hand side of the attached photo] finding himself on that triangular shaped traffic island.
      The gent's and ladie's toilets which he mentioned are underlined in red in the photo. Also, as indicated in the photo by a green arrow, there was the site of the famous Rotunda Theatre a very short distance away. I don't know what stood on the site back in August 1961 as the theatre was bombed in the May blitz of 1941.
      There is little doubt that the description of the sweet shop given in the December 1961 statement ( which was not made to the police but was taken by Hanratty's solicitor) fairly describes the location of Cowley's newsagents but none of this was said by Hanratty prior to Mrs Dinwoodie being found and Kleinman verifying the location of the shop. In its early form, Hanratty's description omitted traffic islands, zebra crossings, and gents and ladies toilets but included a picture house which was opposite the sweet shop; see Foot p190.

      The postal address of Cowley's was 408 Scotland Road whereas the Derby cinema was 318a-322 Scotland Rd, in other words on the same side of the road. One can still see the facade of the old picture house on 2017 Google Streetview of the building which is now being used as an aparthotel called "The Picturehouse", perhaps in honour of Jim's 1961 description.

      The Gaiety is on the opposite side of the road but was quite some distance away, having a postal address of 41-45 Scotland Road. Could a picture house at 41-45 Scotland Road fairly be said to be opposite a newsagents at 408 Scotland Road? I venture to say not.

      Local Liverpool historian, Philip Mayer gives a potted history of the Gaiety here on Flickr. It would seem that both the Gaiety and its sister cinema, the nearby Derby closed on the same date, 14 May 1960.
      And here is what he writes about the Derby

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      • And here is the Derby as it is now.
        Attached Files

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        • Originally posted by cobalt View Post
          It is almost certain that the murderer, armed with a gun and ammunition, was driven to the Taplow area. That explains the lack of sightings and the failure to discover an abandoned car as well.
          Langdale said Hanratty told him he was "coming across a field" when he came across the car.

          The field in which Gregsten parked his Morris is bounded on its west side by the Thames River and its tow path, which only a mile or so to the north runs through Maidenhead. It's not inconceivable that Hanratty struck out across the field from this path.

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          • I've always thought it most likely he got a train to Maidenhead, simply because he talked in the car about having visited Maidenhead and 'The Bear' in particular. From there he could have walked or got a bus to Taplow.

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            • I appreciate that local knowledge of the scene of the crime offers a wider understanding of likely transportation, short cuts and the like. My own awareness of Maidenhead is limited to a resonant line in a Harold Pinter play, written a couple of years before the A6 Case, where a character insists on his anonymity by declaring ‘All that time I was in Maidenhead I hardly left the house!’ In trademark Pinter/Kafka style, this character is undergoing some kind of interrogation for a presumed ‘crime’ that is never made clear. At least James Hanratty had an advantage on that count.

              It would be interesting to have access to the police actions in the days immediately following the crime, but we can only work on assumptions. The police had a reasonable description of the murderer from Valerie Storie so, given that the car was abandoned in London, they surely did some legwork in respect of bus conductors, railway ticket collectors and taxi drivers along the likely routes. Presumably they received information about dodgy characters seen travelling on the afternoon in question and checked them out best they could. Hanratty seems to have been what we used to call a ‘flash git’ and his sharp dress sense plus his carrying a carrier bag (containing ammunition) might have registered with a member of the public in the immediate aftermath. It is basic detective work to establish how a criminal arrived at the scene, what he did at the scene and how he left the scene but this investigating team never seemed to make much headway on the first of these. Maybe they just drew a blank.

              Or did they actually do the hard grind of public transport and door-to-door enquiries? A contributor some time back claimed that locals in the Taplow, Dorney Reach area were surprised at the lack of police activity following the crime. From memory, he was suggesting that the police never really bought into the cornfield story, but that is no more than supposition based on hearsay. It would have been interesting though, had the police invited Mrs. Lanz along to the Peter Alphon identity parade.

              Langdale as a witness has less credibility than Nudds for, by the law of averages, Nudds must have been telling the truth some of the time. Hanratty was not one of life’s hikers from what I can gather, preferring to hire transport out of his ill-gotten gains or nick a car. Like many city boys, myself included, I suspect Hanratty had no interest in walking across fields. Valerie Storie’s first statement, I think it was, actually mentioned how clean the murderer’s shoes were, in contrast to his tale of living rough.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by cobalt View Post
                ... I suspect Hanratty had no interest in walking across fields. Valerie Storie’s first statement, I think it was, actually mentioned how clean the murderer’s shoes were, in contrast to his tale of living rough.
                Valerie mentions the gunman being "immaculately" and "nattily" dressed in a suit and white shirt, but there is no mention of his shoes as far as I can see.

                I can't imagine when she'd have gotten the chance to observe the state of his footwear.
                Last edited by Alfie; 09-25-2018, 02:27 AM.

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                • Hanratty in Liverpool

                  May have been covered previously but ...

                  Woffinden on pp. 128-9, discussing Hanratty's mid-trial switch of alibi, relays in part what he told his lawyers about his return to Liverpool from Rhyl thus:

                  "... he went over on the ferry to New Brighton, where he went to the fun-fair. He was disappointed that many of the side-shows were closed. ‘I was on my own. I came back about 10 o’clock. I went back to the flat, picked up my luggage and took a large sum of cash with me. I went to the station about 10.15.'"

                  What flat?

                  And where did this large sum of cash come from? Earlier he'd told his lawyers that he'd tried to flog the gold watch at the billiard hall because he "only had £8 or £9 on me, that to me is not a lot of money."

                  Is Hanratty getting his first and second alibi stories mixed up here? Or is Woffinden?

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                  • This was discussed before, after Spitfire drew attention to it.

                    Woffinden is plonking the latter stages of the Liverpool alibi onto the end of the Rhyl alibi and it doesn't work. Similarly the front-end join between Liverpool and Rhyl is also ropey, with Woffinden saying he arrived on the 4.54 train and not explaining how he completed all the actions he claimed to have done before getting the bus at 6.00.

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                    • Originally posted by NickB View Post
                      This was discussed before, after Spitfire drew attention to it.

                      Woffinden is plonking the latter stages of the Liverpool alibi onto the end of the Rhyl alibi and it doesn't work. Similarly the front-end join between Liverpool and Rhyl is also ropey, with Woffinden saying he arrived on the 4.54 train and not explaining how he completed all the actions he claimed to have done before getting the bus at 6.00.
                      What a good memory you have, Nick. Here is the post of nearly three years ago. It does seem that Woff was getting fact and fiction hopelessly confused.

                      Originally posted by Spitfire View Post
                      Calling James Hanratty by the wrong name is not the only mistake made by Bob Woffinden.


                      The edition of Bob’s book which I have is the 1999 Pan edition and I refer to the relevant account which begins at the end of page 127. Bob has described, amongst other things Hanratty’s trip to Liverpool, the bus ride to Rhyl and the quest for digs in a seaside town in the middle of the holiday season. Bob now turns to the return bus ride from Rhyl, which Bob assures us took place in the morning of Thursday 24 August after Hanratty had resolved he could return to London (the Smoke) in ersatz triumph. So far so good; we know that the bus journey is not speedy, the outbound journey taking 2hours 19 minutes, so if Bob is right then Hanratty should have been in Liverpool by 14.20 pm.

                      Bob does not condescend to giving particulars of times, however, and it is a matter of guesswork as to when it is contended that Hanratty arrived at the Pool but for the moment we can give Jim and Bob the benefit of the doubt. On the second paragraph of page 128 Bob writes as follows:

                      “At that point the pretence was discarded and Hanratty could tell that the actual truth.”

                      He then paraphrases Hanratty’s account of the afternoon of 24 August 1961; going to the left luggage to leave his case, having a meal, going to the pictures, sending the telegram to Dixie, trying to get into the Winstone fight, and then off to New Brighton and the funfair.

                      Bob now quotes Hanratty (page128):

                      'I was on my own. I came back about 10 o'clock. I went back to the flat, picked up my luggage and took a large sum of cash with me. I went to the station about 10.15. I again put my case in the left luggage-it was a different man-I gave him a 6d tip.’


                      Has Bob just transplanted the events of 24th August 1961 of the first alibi story into the second alibi story? What flat is Bob talking about? How can Hanratty have put his luggage in the left luggage office twice without removing it in between times? Where has the large amount of cash appeared from?

                      More questions than answers.

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                      • So Woffinden has inserted the Rhyl alibi into the middle of the previously described Liverpool alibi and completely ignored the contradictions this produces.

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                        • Thanks are due, from myself at any rate, to Nick and Spitfire for clearing up many, if not all, of the areas of confusion concerning Woffo's take on the Liverpool/Rhyl alibis. I always had the feeling that Woffo, if not quite making it up as he went along, was relying to an extent upon the credulity of his readers, but was never quite able to put my finger on it. He was certainly not doing his case many favours.

                          Graham
                          We are suffering from a plethora of surmise, conjecture and hypothesis. - Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure Of Silver Blaze

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Graham View Post
                            Thanks are due, from myself at any rate, to Nick and Spitfire for clearing up many, if not all, of the areas of confusion concerning Woffo's take on the Liverpool/Rhyl alibis. I always had the feeling that Woffo, if not quite making it up as he went along, was relying to an extent upon the credulity of his readers, but was never quite able to put my finger on it. He was certainly not doing his case many favours.

                            Graham
                            Seconded.

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                            • The way he could have walked from Maidenhead railway station along the Thames Path to the cornfield is shown on the first map on this pdf ...

                              https://www.visitthames.co.uk/dbimgs...sor%20Walk.pdf

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by NickB View Post
                                The way he could have walked from Maidenhead railway station along the Thames Path to the cornfield is shown on the first map on this pdf ...

                                https://www.visitthames.co.uk/dbimgs...sor%20Walk.pdf

                                ...and seen doing so by whom in particular?

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